The U.S. Department of Education has named Gove Elementary School a 2018 Green Ribbon School honoree for its commitment to student and community wellness, as well as environmental conservation and sustainability.

“This distinction is thanks to a decade of hard work by our entire Gove family, and the dedication of more than 50 business partners to ensure that we’re addressing the whole child and our community in lessons that will promote wellness and conservation,” said Gove Elementary School principal Kim Thomasson.

In working to attain the recognition, the school set out to ensure that “every grade level integrate environmental education into classroom instruction, teaching students how to making a difference in the world, while creating a healthier learning environment,” according to its application.

Fruits and vegetables have been included in the daily snacks, there’s a vegetable and herb garden on campus and the students have participated in several health and wellness initiatives such as morning yoga, healthy eating forums and fitness challenges.

The school-wide commitment to conservation includes hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) lessons centered on the environment, recycling projects, encouraging carpooling and biking to school, and reducing pesticides used on the campus by incorporating ladybugs and marigolds in the landscaping.

The campus is LEED Silver-certified with energy and water-reducing materials such as native plants in the landscaping, green cleaning products and ice storage air conditioning. Through these initiatives, it has reduced its energy use by 74 percent and its water use by 57 percent in two years.

Gove Elementary School is a Title I school with more than 700 students located in what has been identified as a food desert. Gove and Pine Jog elementary school are the only schools in the District to earn the Green Ribbon Award.